Ford has unveiled the new Focus ST, the first high performance variant of their much praised 4th-generation medium hatch. As with anything breathed on by the Ford Performance, the car’s outing was done with a blue example, wearing the requisite lowered suspension and 18- or optional 19-inch wheels.
In fact, the all-new ST doesn’t look too different than the Focus ST-Line, which of course should surprise no one when mimicking the sportier look is exactly what that trim choice was meant to do. That aside, the car does wear a far more toned down aesthetic compared to previous iterations, which were usually given a canonically bright orange or yellow exterior.
Besides the ST badging, the only real indicators would be a more steeply angled rear roof spoiler, a larger and more aggressive rear diffuser element, as well as the twin exit exhausts - positioned to the side this time unlike the centre arrangement used by its predecessor which hobbled its towing capability.
Of course, there’s still a fair bit of time until the next ultimate fast Focus is due for a regeneration as the current RS still has plenty of life and performance potential left to be coaxed out. Speaking of which, that’s where this all-new Focus ST receives a heart transplant, boasting a detuned version of the 2.3-litre four-cylinder turbocharged EcoBoost unit.
Drive reaches only the front wheels, as it did in former STs, and does so through a 6-speed manual transmission or 7-speed automatic and, for the first time, a standard (electronic) limited slip differential. This will no doubt help to manhandle the 206kW and 420Nm onto the road. The standard set of Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres, specially developed for the ST, should help with that too.
That’s a significant output bump over the previous Focus ST and its 2.0-litre turbo motor, which should make it almost as fast as the RS in normal driving conditions. For now, though, there aren’t any definitive acceleration or top speed numbers to back that up.
Another new piece of technology the new Focus ST gains is the Continuously Controlled Damping system popularised by the facelifted 6th-generation Mustang. Other go-fast gadgets include Adaptive Shift Scheduling should the automatic transmission be fitted, which will no doubt be quicker at the century sprint, and an innovative anti-lag system to maintain boost pressure and response even when the driver lifts off the accelerator pedal.
The ST will also be offered in certain markets as both a five door hatch or more practical wagon that increases maximum boot space to a cavernous 1,653-litres, though inside they will be identically fitted with body-hugging Recaro front seats and overall sportier trim accents. Buyers can also choose from Miko Dinamica, leather, or high quality cloth upholstery.
As you’d expect, the SYNC3 infotainment system and centre display is front and centre while also helping reduce button clutter. This time the media array is hooked up to a 10-speaker B&O Play audio system. An optional Performance Pack is also on offer, adding features such as Launch Control, Shift Lights, Rev-matching for the 6-speed manual, and a ‘Track’ driving mode.
Ford Australia says they expect to add the all-new Focus ST to the local line-up in early 2020, joining the Range Raptor and Fiesta ST in the growing Ford Performance range.